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Providing an example for other sailors

Published on January 16th, 2018

The US Sailing Team and US Sailing’s Olympic Development Program (ODP), together with Debris Free Oceans and US Sailing Center Miami, partnered to remove nearly 2,500 pounds of trash and debris from the shorelines of Coconut Grove, Florida.

Organized as part of last week’s national team training camp, dozens of America’s top Olympic hopefuls took a break from an intensive training schedule to care for the environment surrounding their primary training site in the United States.

“This is one of my proudest moments since taking this job,” said two-time Olympic Gold Medalist Malcolm Page, Chief of U.S. Olympic Sailing. “The national team joined with the ODP for this special cleanup project, and really made a difference in the environment surrounding the US Sailing Center Miami.”

Utilizing US Sailing Team coach boats, athletes and coaches combed through the mangroves and removed a wide range of human-made debris, much of which was deposited in the area by recent hurricanes.

“Sailors are connected to the environment in a profound way,” said US Sailing Team athlete Steph Roble (East Troy, Wisc.). “We all care a lot about the waters and habitats around the places where we sail, and especially at home here in the U.S. It was really exciting to watch our whole team fully commit to the cleanup project during this training camp, and to provide an example for other sailors around the world.”


Prior to the cleanup, participants were inspired by Debris Free Oceans Co-Founders Caiti Pomerance and Jeremy Waks, who gave a talk about plastic pollution to over 60 US Sailing Team athletes, ODP participants, staff, and coaches. Among other facts, the group learned that by 2050 it is expected that there will be more plastic than fish in the ocean by weight.*

Duly motivated, all involved broke the record for most trash collected during a Debris Free Oceans cleanup.

“This has blown our [previous] cleanups out of the water. It’s been incredible,” said Debris Free Oceans Founder Caiti Pomerance (Miami, Fla.). “We’ve cleaned up at least 1,500 pounds more [trash] than our average cleanup. These [sailors] are strong, they’re competitive, dedicated, and passionate people. It clearly showed by picking up so much garbage.”

Source: US Sailing

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